Joe Looney has spent the first half of the season in an understudy role as he learns the center position in addition to his natural spot at guard. The fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest has overcome a foot injury he suffered at the end of his college career to crack the 53-man 49ers roster. Though Looney hasn't been activated for any game yet so far in his NFL career, he's still working hard behind the scenes. 49ers.com recently caught up with Looney to discuss his development as a first-year player.
It's great to get back to football, but I had a special visit back home to Florida during the bye. My second day there, my younger brother James committed to my alma mater Wake Forest to play defensive lineman. It was really awesome to see him make that commitment and just to have that opportunity to play college football.
It's pretty cool that he picked the same college I went to. I loved Wake and I know that there's some great people up there who are going to take good care of him. Coach Jim Grobe and that whole staff do a great job of making sure to create an environment where they can have good relationships with the players. I didn't play too big of a role in the recruitment, though, I wanted James to make his own decision.
It was nice to see my family again – my brothers and sisters, my little niece and mom and dad. I also got to see one of my little brother's high school football games at my old high school. It was great to see my old coaches and talk with them a little bit, too.
Now that I'm back, I'm focusing on learning the game and watching the veteran guys in front of me, taking notes from those guys. Anything offensive line coaches Mike Solari and Tim Drevno give me a tip on, I want to make sure that I work on it. I'm just trying to learn everything I can to help benefit the team.
So far my favorite road trip this season has been Green Bay. Lambeau Field was definitely awesome. To be in that stadium with the history and the background, it was amazing. The win was nice, too.
It's a blessing to come into work every day. I thank God for the opportunity he's given me to be here. There's some great guys in this locker room – Joe Staley, Joe Staley, Alex Boone and those guys – they're all good guys and they're looking to help out the rookies, too. It's awesome just being in here with guys that want to see you succeed and coaches that want you to be great.
I've been practicing at center and guard throughout the season and trying to pick the veterans' brains while I'm out there at practice. If I need help at center, I'll ask Jonathan Goodwin and Daniel Kilgore. At guard, I'll usually talk to Boone and Leonard Davis. They've helped me out a bunch, so it's great to have those guys in the meeting room and learn from them.
On Sundays, it's awesome seeing them go out there and play the way they do. They make you want to go out there and do it, too. Everything you see, you just want to go out there on the field and copy when you have the chance.
The young guys on the offensive line are close, too. Just being here with Al Netter and Kenny Wiggins, going through it with them, we're all rookies and stuff so it's nice. It's nice to have guys to talk to and watch film with – that's our group. We also found a great breakfast spot nearby to eat at – Sara's Kitchen. Really good. We work out together and watch film together, so it's nice be around those guys.